Saturday, January 5, 2008


When Emirita Koroi talks about crime, you can tell she feels strongly about it.
Her conviction is hardly surprising in view of the fact that her father, acting Assistant Superintendent of Police, Eparama Waqa, is a career police officer.
The Class Six student had no qualms admitting she is motivated by the work her father and his colleagues do every day in trying to keep society safe from criminals.
"I admire his (her father's) work in trying to prevent crime to make Fiji a better place to live in," Emirita said.
That was why, when asked to speak on crime at Crime Prevention Week in November, the Deenbandhoo Primary School student knew it would be from the heart.
In her talk, the 11-year-old defined crime as "something which is against the law and which people are punished for".
Said Emirita, whose father is originally from Wailevu Village in Kadavu: "Crime is a social problem and has been part of all societies. No society is crime free, as people commit all types of crime. Due to these social problems we are lucky we have the police to look after us and help the communities enjoy their lives without being targets of crime."
Fiji is one of the more developed of the Pacific economies but the increasing crime rate would not only affect society but the economy as a whole.
"Government can help reduce crime if it provides a lot of employment, which will also improve our standard of living," Emirita said.
She said we were fortunate the police, court and prison were functioning.
"They have a system which helps to take criminals to court or to prison."
She said it was also our civic duty as members of the public to help in providing information to the police, which would make Fiji a safer place to live in.
A good family unit also helped reduce crime, Emirita said.
The middle child in a family of three, she has an older brother Ulaiasi Koroi, who is a Form Three student of Indian College and a younger sister, Arieta Salacakau Koroi, who also attends Deenbandhoo.
Their mother, Penina Waqa, hails from Kilikoso, Macuata.
Born in Labasa and having lived there until last year, Emirita describes the town as a quiet neighbourhood.
She finds the high rate of crime in Suva quite a contrast.
The school she attends is proactive about the effect of crime on youngsters. Head teacher Kirath Singh said the school often invites speakers from the St Giles psychiatric hospital to educate students on the effects of marijuana.
The school has also formed an awareness program involving parents.
"This is to inform the parents on how to help prevent crime," Mr Singh said.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online